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US News Hall of Fame golfer Mickey Wright dies at 85

04:00  18 february  2020
04:00  18 february  2020 Source:   bostonglobe.com

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- Mickey Wright , the golf great with a magnificent swing who won 13 majors among her 82 victories and gave the fledgling LPGA a crucial lift, died Monday of a heart attack. She was 85 . She had been hospitalized in Florida the last few weeks after a fall, said her lawyer, Sonia Pawluc.

American Mickey Wright , one of the greatest golfers of all time with 82 titles including 13 majors, dies aged 85 . "We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today," said LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan.

File: In this 1967 file photo, the gallery follows Mickey Wright's iron shot from the fairway at the Toronto Golf Club. © ASSOCIATED PRESS File: In this 1967 file photo, the gallery follows Mickey Wright's iron shot from the fairway at the Toronto Golf Club. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Mickey Wright, the golf great with a magnificent swing who won 13 majors among her 82 victories and gave the fledgling LPGA a crucial lift, died Monday of a heart attack. She was 85.

She had been hospitalized in Florida the last few weeks after a fall, said her lawyer, Sonia Pawluc.

Ms. Wright joined the LPGA in 1955 and the Hall of Famer’s 82 wins place her second on the all-time list behind Kathy Whitworth, who won 88. The Associated Press in 1999 named Ms. Wright the Female Golfer of the Century and Female Athlete of the Year in 1963 and 1964.

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World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida. Honoring golf 's greatest players and contributors. Mickey Wright . Class of 1976. LEARN MORE ».

File: View of LPGA golfer Mickey Wright putting on the green at the Ogden Country Club, in Ogden, Utah, June, 1962. File: View of LPGA golfer Mickey Wright putting on the green at the Ogden Country Club, in Ogden, Utah, June, 1962.

A Golf Magazine poll of experts in 2009 called her the best female golfer ever, and men’s champions Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson said Ms. Wright had the best swing they ever saw.

Mary Kathryn Wright was born in San Diego on Feb. 14, 1935. She started playing golf seriously at age 11 and in 1952, at 17, won the USGA Girls’ Junior Championship. In 1954, she won the World Amateur.

She studied psychology for a year at Stanford before dropping out in 1955 to pursue a professional golf career.

“I've earned my own version of a master’s degree in psychology in study and experience, trial and error, on golf courses throughout the United States. For psychology . . . is as integral a part of good golf as an efficient swing,” she said, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 1976.

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File: In this July 1, 1961 file photo, Mickey Wright poses after winning her third Women's National Open golf championship, at the Baltusrol Golf Club at Springfield, N.J. Hall of Fame golfer Wright, who won 82 LPGA tournaments including 13 majors, died Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, of a heart attack, her attorney said. © ASSOCIATED PRESS File: In this July 1, 1961 file photo, Mickey Wright poses after winning her third Women's National Open golf championship, at the Baltusrol Golf Club at Springfield, N.J. Hall of Fame golfer Wright, who won 82 LPGA tournaments including 13 majors, died Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, of a heart attack, her attorney said.

Her first tournament win came in 1956 in Jacksonville, Fla., and by 1961 she was dominating the tour, winning at least 10 tournaments annually from 1961 to 1964. Among her major wins were four US Opens and four LPGA Championships.

Ms. Wright retired from the tour in 1969 because of foot issues and burnout: She was the biggest draw on the LPGA Tour and played constantly to help it thrive.

“The pressure was so great,” Whitworth said about her friend and rival, according to the Hall of Fame. “Sponsors threatened to cancel their tournaments if she didn’t play. And, knowing that if they canceled, the rest of us wouldn’t be able to play, Mickey would always play.”

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Her last tournament victory came four years after leaving the tour, the 1973 Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle. That was before that tournament was considered a major.

Ms. Wright moved to Stuart, Fla., in 1974, where she lived the rest of her life. She survived breast cancer in 2007.

The Stuart News in 2012 said Ms. Wright spent most days gardening, fishing, and playing the stock market and crossword puzzles. For golf, she hit wedges off a practice mat on her patio onto the 14th fairway of an adjoining club.

When she donated 200 items to the United States Golf Association in 2012, she said she hated giving up that mat. The course ranger gave her a new one.

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